The Sharp Report
One of the most proficient gamblers that sportsbooks have ever seen, Haralabos Voulgaris, is on record saying the main reason he retired from professional gambling is that he was gradually losing his edge against the sportsbooks. Voulgaris explains that every time he placed a bet, he gave the sportsbook a metaphoric piece to the puzzle that, once solved, would completely erase his edge to the point where he would no longer be a profitable bettor. The same way sportsbooks learned from Voulgaris' bets and eroded his edge, daily fantasy sports players can learn from their top competitors and eat away at their edge. These top competitors, known as sharps, typically play DFS at a much higher level and for much more money than others. These players normally have very advanced and accurate projection systems that give them their edge over the field. Fortunately, every time they enter a contest the sharp players' lineups are available to the public to be broken down, analyzed, and learned from. The Sharp Report will be a weekly article that uses all available and applicable data to draw conclusions regarding how the industry's smartest decision-makers and their projections systems come to their final conclusions when building lineups. Over the course of the entire season, The Sharp Report's goal will be to project what the best players in the industry will do in upcoming contests and, in turn, figure out what it is that gives these high-level players their edge over the field.
The players analyzed in this article consistently play, and win, in high-stakes contests and are also ranked in the top ten percent in RotoGrinders' super heavyweight division of DFS players. Players' names will be omitted from the article, but all lineups analyzed are from the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings.
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Last week, Taysom Hill was the second member of The Sharp Core. Hill's combination of rushing and passing production made him the number-one quarterback option on the slate by a wide margin. Every single player in the $2,120 GIANT 50-50 on DraftKings rostered the Saints' quarterback, and it paid off to the tune of 26.30 DraftKings points at just $5,600. Below, in italics, is the forward-looking analysis used in last week's article to project Taysom Hill as the sharp selection at quarterback.
Taysom Hill is back under center for the New Orleans Saints after a brief stint as the starter last season. This year, it took an injury to the Saints' starter, Jameis Winston, followed by dismal play from Trevor Siemien, the team's backup, to force Hill back in charge of Sean Payton's offense. Last week, in his first start, Hill was dreadful through the air, completing less than 50-percent of his passes for 264 yards, 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions. Still, Hill posted 27.66 DraftKings points thanks to his remarkable rushing production. With 11 carries for 101 yards on the ground, the gadget-player turned quarterback posted one of the strongest fantasy performances of any quarterback in the league last week. This week, at just $5,600 on DraftKings in a matchup against the horrific defense of the New York Jets, Hill is far and away the strongest quarterback option on the main slate of games. Even if he is unable to match his 13.1 points on the ground from last week, his passing production should increase significantly thanks to an exceptionally soft matchup. Taysom Hill will certainly be the quarterback of choice for sharp NFL DFS players this weekend, and he should be locked into your cash game lineups without a second thought.
Despite already standing atop Washington's depth chart at running back, Antonio Gibson's fantasy value was bolstered by some late-breaking injury news in Week 14. J.D. McKissic, the team's third-down running back, was ruled out due to a concussion, which left a void for Antonio Gibson to fill. Gibson, who played wide receiver in college, is effective in both standard-down and passing-down situations. However, when McKissic is active, Gibson regularly cedes work to the passing-down specialist. Last weekend, without McKissic in the fold, Gibson projected to receive a substantial increase in quantity and quality of touches in Washington's offense. Leading up to this matchup, Gibson had carried the ball at least 19 times in 4 consecutive outings, which already provided an impressive expected floor of production. Now, after adding substantial receiving volume into the equation, Antonio Gibson projected as one of the strongest overall selections on the main slate. At $6,000, the projected combination of rushing and receiving volume Gibson provided was too enticing to pass up on in cash games. Ultimately, he made his way into 100-percent of lineups in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings
Austin Ekeler was featured in last week's Sharp Core thanks to his significant receiving role in an offense that was decimated by injuries and COVID-related absences. By the end of the week, Mike Williams was removed from the Reserve/COVID List, but his presence did not do much to lessen the projected value of Ekeler. As expected, 65-percent of sharp NFL DFS players in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 plugged Austin Ekeler into their cash-game lineups in Week 14. Below, in italics, is the forward-looking analysis used in last week's article to project Austin Ekeler as a sharp selection at running back.
- After a mysterious zero-target game in Week 1 against the Washington Football Team, Austin Ekeler has had at least five passes thrown his way in every game except one this season. Overall this season, Ekeler ranks 2nd in the NFL in targets amongst all running backs, trailing only Najee Harris. Now, as the Los Angeles Chargers enter battle against the New York Giants without their top two receivers on the outside, Ekeler's pass-catching prowess will be critical to the team's success through the air in Week 14. While he is the most expensive running back in the DraftKings player pool this weekend, priced at $8,300, an efficient price for Ekeler is much higher now that he will play a bigger role in the team's passing game. The 5th-year running back has scored an average of 12.48 DraftKings points per game through the air this season, and, on the whole, he has scored at least 19.4 DraftKings points in 8 out of his 12 outings. Expect Austin Ekeler to be one of the most popular running back selections in cash-game contests in Week 14 thanks to a significant increase to his already impressive profile of receiving production.
Last Sunday, Jamison Crowder was expected to be the primary beneficiary of Elijah Moore unexpectedly landing on the Injured Reserve in the middle of the week. Additionally, Corey Davis underwent season-ending surgery leading up to the Jets' Week 14 matchup against the Saints. Crowder's playing time and receiving volume dipped in recent weeks while Moore, a rookie, found a groove and emerged as a quality NFL wide receiver. However, with Moore and Davis out of the picture, Crowder was expected to see a substantial increase in receiving volume out of the slot. Crowder was a popular selection in this type of roster construction because he provided significant salary relief at a position that lacked quality bargain bin options otherwise. Last season, in a similarly depleted receiving corps, Jamison Crowder averaged approximately 8.5 targets per game. He would have typically paid off his price tag with relative ease if he approached that mark in this outing, as many sharp NFL DFS players expected him to. However, when the dust settled, Crowder ended the afternoon with just 3 receptions for 19 yards on 6 targets, leaving much to be desired. Still, the process that led to his selection was sound, which is why he made his way into 65-percent of lineups in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings in Week 14.
Week 15 Sharp Core
Build Week 15 cash game lineups around the Sharp Core. The players featured below are selected using the same processes and research that the sharpest NFL DFS players use. The results for these selections over the last 3+ seasons have been strong, with documented success across every position and price range.
This article will be updated later in the week as more information becomes available leading up to kickoff. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, where I will send a tweet to notify everyone whenever I update any of my articles here at FootballGuys.
Sharp Core Feature #1: Cooper Kupp
This week, start at the very top when building cash-game lineups by locking in Cooper Kupp. Kupp is on a record-setting pace this season, commanding double-digit targets in 12 out of 13 games, averaging 27.6 DraftKings points per game along the way. Now, with Odell Beckham Jr on the Reserve/COVID List, Kupp is a safe bet to command massive volume yet again in Week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks boast the 28th-ranked pass defense in the league, according to DVOA allowed, and they stand little chance of containing the NFL's number-one wide receiver. In the secondary, the Seahawks field one of the weakest trios of starters in the NFL, as each of Sidney Jones, D.J. Reed Jr., and Ugo Amadi grade as below-average players in coverage. Additionally, Seattle's defense recently lost one of their starting safeties, Jamal Adams, to season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. Overall, the NFC West's basement dwellers stand little chance of containing Kupp this weekend, especially given his expected increase in receiving volume without Odell Beckham Jr suiting up. Despite the $9,000 price tag, Cooper Kupp needs to be the first player selected for cash-game lineups in Week 15.
Sharp Core Feature #1: James Robinson
The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Urban Meyer earlier this week, leaving Darrell Bevell in charge for the remainder of the season. Bevell has made his intentions to use James Robinson as a true bell-cow running back abundantly clear. Additionally, Robinson is an exceptional value this week, as his suppressed price reflects the limited playing time that he saw under the Meyer regime. With a new coach calling the shots, his playing time should increase substantially. Lastly, Robinson has one of the softest matchups in the NFL this weekend, going up against the Houston Texans' horrific run defense. The side ranks 28th in the NFL in rushing DVOA allowed, and they should struggle to contain James Robinson on Sunday afternoon. Lock James Robinson into cash-game lineups, as he will certainly be a player that sharp NFL DFS players turn to as a bargain bin running back option.